Drug War

Remember When Obama Said He Would Stop the DEA's Raids on Oregon's Medical Marijuana Growers? Neither Does He.


In March 2008 Gary Nelson, editorial page editor at southern Oregon's Mail Tribune, interviewed Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who at the time was running for the Democratic presidential nomination. When Nelson asked Obama about federal policy regarding Oregon's medical marijuana law, which had been approved by voters a decade before, Obama declared, "I'm not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue." Two months later, another Oregon paper, Willamette Week, asked Obama, "Would you stop the DEA's raids on Oregon medical marijuana growers?" His reply: "I would, because I think our federal agents have better things to do, like catching criminals and preventing terrorism." The Oregon medical marijuana growers who were raided by the DEA yesterday probably are wishing that guy had been elected president.

"I can guarantee you that if [the] Oregon Medical Marijuana [Program] would have came and did a search of us and our papers, they would have happily drove off and did nothing," the owner of the property the DEA raided told A.P. The DEA says it found 451 plants. Oregon's law allows designated growers to raise up to six plants per patient for up to four people. The landlord said he had 20 tenants who were designated as growers, meaning they could have been growing a total of up to 480 plants and still been "in clear and unambiguous compliance" with state law, which according to a 2009 Justice Department memo would make this raid a poor use of the government's resources. But according to a 2011 memo that the department insists is "entirely consistent" with the earlier one, compliance with state law offers no protection from federal prosecution. Got that?

For all the gory details of Obama's medical marijuana reversal, see my October Reason article on his drug policy record. Yesterday I noted that the Justice Department is intensifying its crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries in California. I should have more on that later today, after the state's four U.S. attorneys hold their press conference.

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  2. Suggested alt-text:

    His ass is grass!

  3. Yeah, sock it to those cancer patients & AIDS patients, Barry! They better only be taking drugs that are Obamacare approved.

    On a related note, is there anyone here who knows about moving to Canada? I want to make some contingency plans if he gets re-elected.

    1. Like any of his opposition would be any better? I mean, if snowballs wore expanding foam insulation and Ron Paul got elected I’d have some hope, but we all know that isn’t going to happen. Which GOP candidate is going to be any better on marijuana policy? Perry? Romney? Bachmann? Cain?

      The problems with the US are structural and have a lot of inertia. If you need to move if Obama gets re-elected, logically you should just move now because there isn’t going to be much difference either way.

      1. Uh, former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson is running and said he will legalize and tax cannabis. He also wants to bring our kids back from Iraq, Brussells, and other dangerous places. He is a Republican.

  4. They should be violating the civil rights of air travelers instead of the civil rights of pot dealers…..

  5. Can someone name one promise that Obama has kept? A can’t think of one.

    1. And he made a LOT of promises.

      1. Barack promised to be flexible….

        1. Barack promised Michelle Cleopatra-like vacation trips….

            1. Yes but he failed to give her that magical drug he promised that would convert all those hamburgers into ass and arm fat burning power.

              1. The woman has muscles, and her ass is fine but if your jealous of her guns-so be it

  6. The mystery is what does he gain politically by going after medical marijuana ? The politics of class warfare, blaming the banks and such, is obvious. But who’s vote is he trying to get with these actions ?

    1. I don’t know. Assholes?

    2. In all seriousness, did “Big Pharma” get to this guy? ‘Cause I agree with you, Mainer. I just don’t see what part of his constituency approves of this policy. Obama has really mastered the whole demagogue thing, I guess.

      1. I own stock in PH-PH-PFizer….the dudes that make Viagra….

    3. Pharma and alcohol don’t need the cheap competition

    4. You always have to keep the support of the guys with the guns. Always.

    5. Turn it around. Obama knows that most Oregonians in favor of medical marijuana will still vote for him anyway, assuming they vote at all. Just like how all those Hollywood millionaires will still organize fundraisers for someone who openly states that he wants to confiscate more of their earnings.

      He loses nothing and possibly gains a few supporters who favor the Drug War.

      1. Glad to see the Big O is not playing politics as usual, just like he promised.

        /s off

    6. I still wonder if this is being driven by Obama… Not that I think he’s a good guy or anything. I just find it more plausible that the agencies supposedly under control are going rogue now that they see him as a weak and ineffectual president who isn’t going to be reelected. They’re doing what they’ve wanted to do for a long time. If you think your next boss is going to be a tough-on-crime GOPer, you’re going to try to pad your resume to make sure you get a nice spot in the next administration.

  7. I think our federal agents have better things to do, like catching criminals and preventing terrorism.

    And the best way to achieve this?

    Help arm the Mexican drug cartels.

    1. I forgot about the Mexican drug cartels. I’m thinking Obama’s MMJ policies are formed with support of both “Big Pharma” and the Mexican cartels. That makes more sense, now.

      1. I forgot about the Mexican drug cartels.

        Yeah, so did we!

    2. I forgot about the Mexican drug cartels. I’m thinking Obama’s MMJ policies are formed with support of both “Big Pharma” and the Mexican cartels. That makes more sense, now.

  8. who’s vote is he trying to get with these actions ?

    Look for the union label.

    1. Stupid me…of course, follow the money. Prosecutors, prison guards, the whole criminal justice system.

      1. Follow the private prison system, not unions

        1. You are so right, no unionized government employees benefit from maintaining the WOD. Silly for anyone to think that.

  9. The mystery is what does he gain politically by going after medical marijuana ?

    I don’t think anybody bothers to consult with the White House any more. What would be the point?

    This is the US Attorneys, sensing weakness at the top (both Holder and Obama), and taking off to do exactly what they’ve always wanted to do.

    1. My thoughts as well.

    2. So a mutiny of sorts, then?

      I’m all for open defiance of the federal government – and for anything that exposes Obama as a paper tiger – but I’d rather see it come from the states than from the fed’s own overseers.

    3. Or maybe Obama and Holder are just liars?

      Why give them so much credit?

    4. ^^This^^^

      Sorry, posted nearly the same thing up above.

      1. Now if we could only get someone in the press corps to pose the question: “Mr. President, have you lost control of your administration?”

  10. A Chicago politician was full of shit. Stop the fucking presses.

  11. If the US Attys would actually surround their weakened prey and tear them to pieces (preferably on live teevee), we’d at least get some marginal benefit.

  12. Remember when Obama promised ……?
    Yes, I do, but it’s not like it matters.

  13. joe|1.13.09 @ 5:15PM|#

    I’ve seen nothing to suggest that Obama’s position on this issue has changed, but let’s face it, stopping the DEA from raiding pot clinics isn’t exactly revolutionary.

  14. http://www.kmtr.com/news/local…..px?rss=191

    The government says medical marijuana grown in Oregon is being sold on the black market.

    Sorry, don’t know how to link right. But I would like to say, I have a friend who is a card holder and her grower gave her only sweet-leaf trimmings. He sold all her bud on the black market. I just wish they would prosicute for the fruad and not the pot.

  15. Many have already made good points. However, I think the true answer may be simpler. Politicians like Obama seek power, in order to wield it against others. This is simply another way to use the power of his office to bring harm to others, which is the ultimate goal of most who seek power.

  16. This administration is completely rudderless. This is a case of the govt.making things worse. They somehow think that pushing a billion dollar business back in the closet will make something better. If there was a “Clueless Award”, this administration would win it hands down!
    Mr. President, the model for MJ legalization is already in place. Just treat it EXACTLY as we do alcohol!
    Why they’re continue to support and aggressively pursue a failed and grossly unpopular policy is baffling.
    Dems and Reps, different pages from the same bad book!
    Ron Paul 2012 LEAP.cc

  17. Please sign White House online petition (case sensitive)
    Thank you! http://wh.gov/gP1

  18. I read about half the comments before looking at the url…reason;com? seriously?
    Most of your are partisan hacks at best.. certainly not free thinkers that can judge both sides of any given story let alone this one.
    Most of you should be ashamed… seriously.

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